The Daily Grind: Are there party roles you will not fulfill in MMOs?

    
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Surprises are relative at times.

We all know the big three roles in most MMO design at this point: tanks, healers, and DPS. But these are not the only roles available, and no, this isn’t going to be about how there used to be a larger number roles or a different big three or whatever. No, this is about the fact that there are different roles, like the person who knows a dungeon/boss fight/exploration area and is willing to explain to the rest of the group. Or the group leader. Or the group peacemaker, soothing over disputes when they arrive.

Face it, those three roles are just the mechanical roles. And maybe there’s one of those you just won’t play, because you hate tanking in Star Wars: The Old Republic or you already did your time as a Red Mage in Final Fantasy XI and never want a support role again. Or maybe you just hate leading the group and making decisions, or you hate being the one to start conversations, or whatever. Are there party roles you will not fulfill in MMOs, regardless of their necessity?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Crowe

Mostly. I’m hesitant to tank if I don’t know the boss fight. I’m not a terribly good tank in general to be honest. I can fill the role in a pinch but it’s not one that comes naturally so it’s pretty easy for me to group wipe! :)
I prefer healer, support, or DPS in that order.

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PanagiotisLial1

I am not into strict roles for example I like tanks with some healing ability(paladin style) or healers that can do some damage too. What I tend to like less is the traditional DPS classes, especially casters.

So yes if I play a game with roles I am going for tank and/or healer mostly but I like variety as well

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Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

I could write WHOLE articles on how and why I think the role system is an anachronism for its time and how people frequently fail to understand how it is intended to work anyway lol. It is a house of cards that if even one of the players involved fails to understand his/her part in it is always going to end with it collapsing into a heap.

BUT..that is not the question, so to answer the question. Yes all of them because I do not like being Pidgeon-holed into one style of play, I like to be what I need and want to be as the situation suits. I like hybrid classes, your jack of all trades masters of none they are also typically the most self sufficient solo friendly classes. (remember LOTRO’s original Captain class before they dumbed it down..Hybrid class and I loved it).

I think the Role worked when games were group centric but in modern games they don’t work so well unless your an established group with people you know and play with regularly.

You get tired of hearing it as the Tanks fault, or the Healers fault or the DPS weren’t doing thier job when you know in actuality it was EVERYONES fault because noone did what they were supposed to or even understand WHAT they were supposed to do. Fortunately the industry has slowly started to get wise and most group content that s intended to be PUGGED is able to be done so with practically zero role mechanics which gets rid of that whole whose fault is it BS we all hate to hear.

TL:DR yes all of them, I like hybrid classes that can fill what role they need to on the fly.

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PanagiotisLial1

Captain was my favorite too!

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Anstalt

I’ve never played a class that I didn’t find easy to play.

If something is easy to do, repetition results in boredom much quicker. For that reason, I tend to gravitate towards the hardest classes to play. This usually means playing a support class – they tend to have much greater flexibility and thus your own decision making is much more important during a fight, rather than just executing a rotation. The ability to play support classes well is also harder to ascertain – you cant just look at threat/dps/healing meters to see if you are good or not. It’s much deeper and more subtle than that.

The only class/role I’ve never really played has been a healer. I’ve started a lot of healing alts, but the mechanics have always been really boring so I’ve never made it to endgame.

I’ve also found that healers tend to have the least impact on the outcome of a fight. I know that sounds controversial, but a healer typically has nothing to do with the mechanics of a fight. They don’t often have to interact with the enemy, or any special mechanics, they just have to keep people alive. That job can be extremely easy in a good group, or extremely hard with a bad group, but the success or failure of a fight is usually down to the other players and not the healer. The 30 or 40 dungeons I ran on my alt healers, I permanently felt like a bystander, watching health bars and doing my best to keep everyone alive, but having no control over whether the tank was turning the mobs and collecting adds, no control over dps hitting the wrong targets etc. Watching other people screw up and not being able to step in (mechanically) was horrible.

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Greaterdivinity

Non-gameplay: Guild leader, not once, not ever. Been an officer etc., led raids (not a fan of it, but I’d do it in a pinch), played peacemaker and all kinds of other stuff. But I just don’t have the brainspace required to lead a proper guild. That and it takes too much effort : P

Gameplay: None really. I actually prefer not to DPS as I generally find I’m poor at it, but that’s about it. Tanking/healing is more my jam, and other roles (support, CC, buffer/debuffer etc.) are usually at least interesting to me.

But a lot depends on the game and both their design of the classes fitting specific roles and how encounter design works.

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andrew saunders

I wouldn’t play a tank just seems a bit stressy to me . I don’t mind healing but i usually tend to turn of party chat and whistepers in pugs if I do because it saves a lot of hassle.

I always recall one incident in Elder Scrolls years ago some guy getting really annoyed because he died once and when he realised his whispers , says and probable slurs in party chat were not getting through to me he jump around me like an idiot for about a minute then quit the party .

:) silence is golden

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Armsman

I can’t (and won’t) play a healer class. I just can’t get into the mindset needed to do the role properly. Of the “Holy Trinity” I’m best at DPS (including aggro management); and decent if called on to Tank; but Healing? No, just no.

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Kickstarter Donor
mysecretid

Generally, I won’t tank or heal unless I’m grouped with good people and/or people I know (e.g. my Fleet friends in Star Trek Online).

In pick-up-groups, there always seem to be those people who rage at you, if you’re tanking or healing, and something bad happens to their characters.

I go in, doing the best I can, and if someone decides to do a Leeroy Jenkins run at the super-fatal big boss evil, it is NOT my problem or my fault if they get themselves cacked.

I just want to shout, “Hey! I’m voluntarily trying to do you a favor here. If things go wrong, be a real human being, and deal with it with some strength and grace!”

So, yeah, no tanking or healing for pugs in my gaming world. :-)

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Toy Clown

My playstyle leans toward caster and healer types, so I tend not to mess with melee, and especially tank, roles.

It all comes down to my own personal physical limitations as to why I don’t care for too much for up-close fighting, and I’ll pick classes where I can stand in one place as much as possible. In fact, I enjoy tanky-caster roles! My favorite being the Necromancer in GW2. Talk about a healing, tanking, DPS machine with the right set-up. Otherwise, I lean toward pet caster classes, such as the Warden and Sorcerer in ESO. With group play I enjoy healers, as I can often stand on the sidelines and do my thing without wrecking the tendons in my wrist and hand further with overuse.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

For me it depends on the games and how well they’re designed for each role. I don’t love tanking in games where there’s no real tanking control. Don’t love healing in games with bad UIs for healing. Don’t love DPS in games with boring rotations where your real job isn’t DPS but Aggro Avoidance. Don’t love support in games where support is undervalued, or pets when the AI is crap. But when they nail it, count me in for whatever role my peeps need.

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starbuck1771

So what do you have against CC (Crowd Control)? My rogue gdoes stealth and saps enemies making them ripe for the kill all the while picking their pockets for extra loot. 😈

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I loooove crowd control classes! Not a big fan of what passes for rogue mechanics in MMOs, though. Stealth makes me antsy – don’t like being slow – and positional DPS can be tiresome. :D

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Don’t love healing in games with bad UIs for healing.

This was probably the biggest reason I didn’t end up going deep on flashpoints in SWTOR when I played. I loathe their UI when it comes to healing due to the lack of any meaningful customization and especially the lack of mouseover macros.

Man, I miss my amazing VuDoh mod back when I raided in WoW. So much data packed into small little cells so I could keep an eye on everything from full raid HP/mana to encounter specific debuffs (by debuff type so I’d know if I could cleanse or not!) to specific big RNG procs for classes so I’d know when they were blowing up bosses and more. It was a complete lifesaver, especially during BC (may have used Grid back then) when the paladin taunt had to be cast on friendly players.

Moral of the story, ALLOW MODS BECAUSE THEY ARE GREAT AND CAN GREATLY IMPROVE THE USER EXPERIENCE!

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

THIS. I am right there with you. Grid or GTFO.